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Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will Continue its Inquiry into Saudi Public Investment Fund

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-WI) wrote to Yasir al-Rumayyan, Governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), declaring PSI’s intention to proceed with its ongoing inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s business dealings in the United States. The letter was sent in response to PIF’s request that PSI “reconsider [its] position” regarding the inquiry. The PIF has filed lawsuits in Saudi Arabia seeking to block four PIF consultants, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, M. Klein & Company, and Teneo—all headquartered in the United States—from responding to subpoenas issued by the Subcommittee.

In August, Chair Blumenthal sent letters to each of the four consultants as part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing examination of the extent to which foreign powers may be using commerce within the United States as a tool of foreign influence. All four consultants have reportedly advised Saudi Arabia on the PIF’s targeted investments in sports and on the Saudi’s larger strategic vision for the PIF’s engagement with the United States. The text of the letters sent to PIF’s consultants in August is available here.

In November, after the Subcommittee’s efforts to obtain information from the PIF consultants voluntarily were rebuffed, the Subcommittee issued a subpoena to all four companies. As today’s letter notes, “the PIF’s repeated attempts to hamper this Subcommittee’s inquiry” are “unprecedented” and came only “after months during which [Governor Al-Rumayyan], the PIF, and the PIF Consultants repeatedly declined to voluntarily testify or provide any substantive, responsive information or records to the Subcommittee.”

The text of the letter is available here and copied below. 

January 29, 2024

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan

Public Investment Fund c/o USSA International LLC

767 5th Avenue, 45th Floor

New York, NY 10153

Dear Governor Al-Rumayyan:

On January 12, 2024, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ (“PSI” or “the Subcommittee”) received a letter from your counsel related to its ongoing inquiry into the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s (“the PIF”) activities in the United States.[1]  Specifically, the letter urged the Subcommittee to reconsider its position with regard to the continued noncompliance of McKinsey & Company, M. Klein & Co., Boston Consulting Group, and Teneo Strategy (“the PIF Consultants”) with the duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Subcommittee on November 2, 2023.[2]  We write to respond to that letter and to confirm that the Subcommittee intends to continue to pursue its inquiry.

The Subcommittee has been examining the extent to which foreign powers may be using commerce within the United States as a tool of foreign influence—an inquiry squarely within Congress’s and PSI’s jurisdiction.[3]  The PIF Consultants likely possess information relevant to this inquiry, and the Subcommittee has issued a subpoena to each of the PIF Consultants to obtain that information and relevant records.[4]  While the PIF’s letter describes this step as “unprecedented,” issuing subpoenas to U.S. businesses in furtherance of a legitimate Congressional inquiry is a common investigative practice expressly authorized by this Subcommittee’s rules.[5]  The U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to compel the production of information as part of its lawmaking role, and persons and entities within the United States are required by law to comply with duly authorized Congressional subpoenas.[6]

What is unprecedented here is the PIF’s repeated attempts to hamper this Subcommittee’s inquiry.  The subpoenas to the PIF Consultants were issued after months during which you, the PIF, and the PIF Consultants repeatedly declined to voluntarily testify or provide any substantive, responsive information or records to the Subcommittee.[7]  These attempts began when the Subcommittee first invited you to testify at its July 11, 2023 hearing into the PIF’s proposed takeover of professional golf in the United States and you declined—first citing scheduling conflicts, then declaring yourself an “inappropriate witness” for a public hearing.[8]  The PIF then rebuffed the Subcommittee’s requests for further information on July 27, 2023 and August 16, 2023, obligating the Subcommittee to seek records from entities over which it has incontrovertible jurisdiction, including the PIF Consultants and the PIF’s U.S. subsidiary USSA International LLC.

The most recent and concerning of these actions is the PIF’s filing of lawsuits against each of the PIF Consultants in Saudi Administrative Court seeking to prevent the production of records to this Subcommittee.  The PIF sued each of the PIF Consultants in Saudi Arabian Administrative Court on November 30, 2023.[9]  Both the PIF’s decision to seek relief from a duly authorized U.S. Congressional subpoena in a foreign forum and the PIF’s continued insistence that the PIF Consultants only produce records that it authorizes have led to the current impasse.   

Nonetheless, the PIF’s January 12, 2024 letter once again claims (without citation) that the Subcommittee subpoenaing the PIF Consultants and enforcing compliance with those subpoenas violates various principles of law.  The Subcommittee cannot accept the PIF’s claims absent any legal explanation.  Therefore, the PIF may submit to the Subcommittee for its consideration a legal memorandum explaining the legal bases for its assertions with appropriate citations to U.S. law and relevant, established precepts of international law.[10]  As the deadline for the PIF Consultants’ compliance is February 2, 2024, if the PIF wishes to submit such a memorandum, it should do so by February 2, 2024.

Your counsel has repeatedly expressed the PIF’s willingness to engage with the Subcommittee in good faith, and reiterated this willingness in the most recent January 12, 2024 letter.  You yourself offered Chairman Blumenthal similar assurances when you met in Saudi Arabia in October 2023.  The PIF’s actions to date are inconsistent with these assurances.  If your desire for constructive engagement with this Subcommittee is sincere, we ask that the PIF’s future actions honor the stated desire to engage in good faith.


[1] See Attachment A (Jan. 12, 2024 letter from the PIF’s Counsel to Chairman Richard Blumenthal).

[2] Id. Subpoena to Sharon Marcil (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Michael Klein (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Bob Sternfels (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Paul Keary (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee).

[3] See U.S. CONST. art. I § 8, cl. 3; United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 558 (1995) (outlining the “three broad categories of activity that Congress may regulate” under art. I § 8, cl. 3); McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S. 135, 175 (1927) (noting that a “legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change.”); S. Res. 59, sec. 12(e)(1), (2) 118th Cong. (1st Sess. 2023); S. Perm. Subcomm. on Investigations, 118th Cong., Rules of Procedure (2023), https://wwwhsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/PSI-Rules-118th-Congress-CPRT-118SPRT51199.pdf.

[4] See Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Christoph Schweizer (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-08-16-Blumenthal-Request-to-BCG-re-Documents-and-Information_Redacted.pdf; Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Michael Klein (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2023-08-16-Blumenthal-Request-to-M.-Klein-re-Documents-and-Information_Redacted.pdf; Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Bob Sternfels (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-08-16-Blumenthal-Request-to-McKinsey-re-Documentsand-Information_Redacted.pdf; Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Paul Keary (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-08-16- Blumenthal-Request-to-Teneo-re-Documents-and-Information_Redacted.pdf; Subpoena to Sharon Marcil (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Michael Klein (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Bob Sternfels (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Subpoena to Paul Keary (Nov. 2, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee).  The Subcommittee issued these subpoenas after each of the PIF Consultants declined to comply with its August 16, 2023 voluntary requests for information.

[5] See e.g.Live Nation issued subpoena regarding ticketing, fees by US Senate panel, Reuters (Nov. 21, 2023), https://www.reuters.com/world/us/live-nation-issued-subpoena-regarding-ticketing-fees-by-us-senate-panel-2023-11-20/; Dustin Volz, U.S. Senate holds Backpage.com in contempt over sex trafficking ads, Reuters (Mar. 17, 2016), https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL2N16P1N4/; Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance: Hearing Before the Perm. Subcomm. on Investigations, 110th Cong. (2008), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-110shrg44127/pdf/CHRG-110shrg44127.pdf; How Saddam Hussein Abused the United Nations Oil-For-Food Program: Hearing Before the Perm. Subcomm. on Investigations, 108th Cong. (2004), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-108shrg97048/pdf/CHRG-108shrg97048.pdfsee also S. Perm. Subcomm. on Investigations, 118th Cong., Rules of Procedure (2023), https://wwwhsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/PSI-Rules-118th-Congress-CPRT-118SPRT51199.pdf. 

[6] Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 187-88 (1957) (“It is unquestionably the duty of all citizens to cooperate with the Congress in its efforts to obtain the facts needed for intelligent legislative action. It is their unremitting obligation to respond to subpoenas, to respect the dignity of the Congress and its committees and to testify fully with respect to matters within the province of proper investigation.”).

[7] The PIF offered to brief the Subcommittee and the Subcommittee accepted this offer. Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Public Investment Fund (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-08-16-Blumenthal-Letter-to-PIF-re-Response-Letter_Redacted.pdf.  However, despite repeated emails from the Subcommittee regarding scope and scheduling of the briefing, the PIF never responded to schedule the briefing or agreed regarding the scope of the briefing.  See Email from Subcommittee Staff to Counsel for the PIF (Sept. 6, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee).

[8] Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Public Investment Fund (Aug. 16, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-08-16-Blumenthal-Letter-to-PIF-re-Response-Letter_Redacted.pdf;.Letter from Chairman Richard Blumenthal and Ranking Member Ron Johnson, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Public Investment Fund (June 21, 2023), https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023-06-21-Blumenthal-and-Johnson-Hearing-Invitation-to-al-Rumayyan_Redacted.pdf.

[9] See Letter from Counsel for McKinsey to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Dec. 1, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Letter from Counsel for BCG to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Dec. 1, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Letter from Counsel for M. Klein to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Dec. 4, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee); Letter from Counsel for Teneo to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Dec. 4, 2023) (on file with the Subcommittee).

[10] Formal objections in writing are required of each PIF Consultant should any fail to comply with PSI’s subpoena, and any submission by the PIF does not excuse any PIF Consultant from objecting on their own behalf.